Nurse Kate on "Consent"


by Nurse Kate

Hi, Nurse Kate here back again. Springtime's a good a time as any to talk about the birds and the bees, so let's jump into a topic we should all talk about before jumping into the sack- consent. Whether it's a casual affair or with someone you're in a romantic relationship with, before having sex, it’s important you have your partner’s consent. Here’s the who, what, when, where, how, and whyof consent from our friends at Play Safe.

What is consent?

Consent means to agree to do something, or for something to happen.

Why do I need consent?

Asking for your partner’s consent shows that you respect their body, their boundaries, their feelings, and their decisions. Consent is an important first step in making sex a mutual, safe, and happy decision.

Consent is also a legal requirement. It is against the law to have sex with, or perform a sex act with someone who has NOT given his or her consent – this is sexual assault.  Consent cannot be coerced or forced. For more on the legal side of consent, visit the Lawstuff website. 

What does consent look or sound like?

“YES!” Consent might be different for everyone, but it should be enthusiastic and certain. Umming and ahhing is not consenting. 

When do I need consent?

Every time! Even if your partner consented yesterday, you still need their consent. You also need consent during sex – your partner agreeing to a new sex position doesn’t mean they’re consenting to it forever.

How do I get consent?

Up to you! You might flirt, ask directly – whatever feels comfortable. The important thing is that you ask, and respect your partner’s decision.

Who can’t give consent?

People under the influence of drugs and alcohol may not be able to consent. If in doubt, put off having sex until they’re sober. 

People who are sleeping or unconscious cannot give consent. 

People under the age of consent (16 in all states, except South Australian and Tasmania where it is 17) are unable to legally consent. Age of consent laws are in place to protect young people. Find out more about the age of consent here.

What if I get my partner’s consent…and they change their mind?

Your partner is allowed to change their mind – even when they’re naked, or midway through sex. If they change their mind, then you don’t have their consent.

Remember, it is illegal to have sex, or continue sex without consent.

What if my partner is unsure, but I think I could change their mind?

Consent is your partner’s decision. Neither of you owe each other sex. Uncertainty isn’t a sign they need convincing.  

If you're still unsure, hopefully this video below will clear it up for you. If you'd like to know more visit Play Safe online or come and visit me at headspace Chatswood if you'd prefer to chat to someone in person about consent or anything sexual/physical health-related. 

*Nurse Kate is available on Wednesdays and Fridays – her services are completely free and no Medicare card is required. You can see Nurse Kate without using other headspace services. So chat to reception and ask about booking an appointment today.